As news swirled early this week that the Saudi government was gearing up to claim they ‘accidentally’ killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Christian televangelist and founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network Pat Robertson defended the Saudis, even suggesting that if they truly murdered Khashoggi, it shouldn’t affect Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the United States.
On this Monday’s edition of the 700 Club, Robertson called Prince Mohammad Bin Salman‘s Wahhabi brand of Islam and his history of human rights abuses “obnoxious,” but didn’t think it was a good enough reason to jeopardize relations with the kingdom.
“I just want to cool down the temper of those who are screaming blood for the Saudis,” Robertson said in a video flagged by Right Wing Watch. “Look, these people are key allies. Our main enemy in the Middle East is Iran, and the Saudis stand up against Iran.”
Pat Robertson responds to reports that the Saudis murdered a journalist by telling everyone to calm down and focus on the important things, like the lucrative arms deal we have with them. pic.twitter.com/06b7s3R6Xe
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) October 15, 2018
“And I know that Wahhabi faith they practice is obnoxious, and what they’ve done in relation to women is obnoxious,” he continued. “Some of their courts are obnoxious, but nevertheless I don’t think on this issue that we need to pull sanctions and get tough.”
One day later, Robertson returned to the topic on his show, acknowledging that recent reports surrounding the gruesome details of the journalists’s alleged murder have thickened the plot, but he maintained that the U.S. needs to “cool the rhetoric.”
“You’ve got one journalist — who knows?” Robertson said Tuesday. “Was it an interrogation? Was he assassinated? Were there rogue elements? Who did it?”
“You’ve got $100 billion worth of arms sales…we cannot alienate our biggest player in the Middle East,” he continued.
Robertson, a prominent evangelical Christian leader, is doing all he can to provide cover for a government that likely murdered a Washington Post journalist. Khashoggi was also a permanent resident of the United States because it was unsafe for him to reside his home country of Saudi Arabia. If there’s ever going to be justice for his alleged murder, it won’t be championed by America’s Christian leaders.
As Vox‘s Tara Isabella Burton points out, Robertson’s stance is consistent with his full-throated support for President Trump.
Since Trump’s inauguration, the Christian Broadcasting Network has become a de facto propaganda channel for the administration, running programs that, for example, suggest that Donald Trump was chosen by God to become president. In return, Robertson has frequently been granted rare access for sit-down interviews with Trump, during which he typically throws Trump softball questions.
As Robertson and his ilk join the campaign to shield Saudi Arabia from this latest fallout, it’s getting harder and harder to take modern evangelical Christianity’s claims of moral superiority with a straight face.
Watch the video below, via Right Wing Watch:
Featured image via screen grab